This is the second part of 2 of the Ashkenaz Festival 2010 in Toronto, but I repeat the introduction of the first part:
¿In which part of the World you can experiment Jewish culture without feeling you are not part of it? Aside of New York and (maybe) Israel itself, almost everywhere in the world Jewish communities are closed to other eyes, and that's it, yes, well not in Toronto.
Jews are a very strong community here and also a very active one. Just months ago there was an impressive Jewish film festival with a huge quantity of Jewish-subject and Jewish-made films, and every September the whole city celebrates Jewish Culture with a festival called Ashkenaz Festival or Festival of New Yiddish Culture (as it was called in Yiddish). During more or less an entire week there are theatre performances, music concerts, dance performances and lessons, parades, a market fair, painting exhibitions, lectures, and religious ceremonies with a relevant openness to non-Jews that most of us have never experimented before.
Jewish artists and celebrities from all over the world come here for the festival and party and talk with everyone who wants to listen to or dance with or learn from, and that is simply amazing.
Sephardic and Mizrachi Cabaret
A concert with 10 of the best of the best in Sephardi and Mizrachi Music (from Israel and Morocco to Washington, from Sarajevo and Seattle to New York). It was the first time I experienced as spectator Ladino Songs.
Moldavian and Roma dances with Steve Weintraub & The Other Europeans
A concert of Roma musicians, and a Moldavian dance lesson for a multitude in an open stage.
Moldavian and Roma Dance at Ashkenaz Festival 2010 from Gustavo Thomas on Vimeo.
A concert with an amazing music band of young Newyorker women, Divahn, with songs with far middle Eastern influence.
(You can find and buy cd and mp3 by Divahn here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/divahn)
Balkan Beat Box concert
A concert of one of the most crazy Jewish band I have ever listened to, Balkan Beat Box, from Israel.
You can look for Balkan beat Box music on internet, it is a very famous band.
Ashkenaz Parade and Performance
Finally a very live performance and parade with hundreds of people lead by Shadowland Theatre Group with their big puppets and music bands.
Seeing a street theatre performance in Toronto is almost a miracle, there are some acrobatic groups performing here and there (Orange Circus and others), but street theatre groups I only know Shadowland Theatre Group. It seems they are working in Toronto since many years ago, and some of their first performances had political connotation for the city during the eighties, so it has been a long way on an almost deserted land. Good for them.
Ashkenaz Parade and Performance at Toronto Ashkenaz Festival 2010 from Gustavo Thomas on Vimeo.